My New Default

Cabana and I stopped at a pumpkin patch this morning for a photo op. It's supposed to start raining this afternoon, so I thought I'd better do this before the ground got mushy (weather forecast calls for "torrential" rain tomorrow). Cabana wasn't too excited about posing, but she humored me. Good doggy!

I had a VERY rough weekend with Cabana. She just about broke my puppy raising heart! She started having her "episodes" again, which she had when she was about 6 months old but had stopped doing for such a long time. Over the past couple months, Cabana's dog distraction has worsened, which I kept attributing to her being close to going into season--but which I now think was not the reason at all. Her episodes are always triggered by passing dogs, like she's so frustrated at not being able to play with them.

My husband offered to walk Cabana all this next week, but I felt like I needed to "get back on that horse". After having a good cry yesterday, I got some ideas for working on this problem, and after this morning's walk, I think they worked. Cabana always seems "penitent", i.e. very well-behaved, after she's had an episode. But I think my interpreting her as being penitent may be too humanizing. One thing I know for certain is that MY attitude and behavior after she's had an episode are very different from my usual "default" demeanor with her. So, I think I need to ACT from the outset as though she's just had an episode--i.e., I'll tolerate no nonsense, no crap, no episodes.

This morning, armed with my NEW default demeanor, Cabana was much better about passing dogs without going into hysterics. She even sat calmly while a huge jackrabbit bounded across our path! Yay, Cabana! We're still rooting for you! And hopefully still rooting for me, too--after all, I think I'm the one that still has a lot to learn.

One other positive thing is that my hand/arm stopped hurting! I believe the culprit was Cabana's new green head collar. Our old tan-colored one was fraying, so a couple months ago, I asked our puppy group leader for a new one. I selected this green one because the webbing was thicker, and I thought it would hold up better and be a bit more comfortable for Cabana. Well, it might have been SO comfortable that she didn't mind pulling pretty hard with it on. When I think back (and look at my old blog posts), I started having arm problems at just about the time we switched to the green one. For the past week or two, I went back to using the tan one, and voila--no arm pain!!

Deborah  – (October 12, 2009 at 11:36 AM)  

Cabana looks awesome with the pumpkins! It sounds like you have her under control again, that is great news. It has to be hard not to get distracted! I'm sure she'll understand real soon!!!!

Sarah and the Pack.  – (October 12, 2009 at 12:23 PM)  

That first picture is so good!!! You should submit it for the calender: it would make a perfect picture for one of the fall months!

Sorry you have been having trouble with Cabana again. I found that when my pups hit about 1 year old, they seem to regress in behaviors that I thought were gone for good. With Sterling his fear on outings became more pronounced, and with Millie she started having some problems with house behaviors again.

Good job on switching to a different head collar, the dogs can be really funny when you switch something around and all the sudden they think they rules do not apply to them anymore.

Hang in there, they do get better again!

Emily  – (October 12, 2009 at 2:16 PM)  

I know where you're coming from with the dog distraction thing. Our puppy classes are split; young pups one Every other Monday. And older pups on the in-between Mondays. If your puppy group does something like that, go to a class that Cabana is not in. See if you can walk Cabana around the other dogs, it really helped me with Hart's distraction problems. If your puppy group does a class all together, maybe ask your group leader if you can walk her around. Or, if you have a friend with a dog you can walk with, that'll help too! Glad to hear your arm's feeling better!

Becky  – (October 12, 2009 at 2:32 PM)  

That is good Cabana is getting the posing for the camera down! Cricket knows that is an important part of the job! As i stated in my post, you puppy raisers are incredible. Thank you and so so happy to hear your hand/arm/wrist is feeling better.

Anonymous –   – (October 12, 2009 at 4:07 PM)  

I'm glad to hear your arm is feeling better! I agree with Sarah and the 1 year mark. :) It seems like they kind of have a brain fart or something.

Also Loyola who graduated as a working guide was VERY distracted as a puppy and even before she went back. I agree with Emily and working her around other dogs. Even if it is just sitting as the other dogs pass by.

Good Luck! :)

Lisa and Ellie  – (October 12, 2009 at 5:34 PM)  

I love the photos of Cabana... they are fabulous! She's a good model!

I'm sorry to hear her "episodes" have resurfaced. I'm sure though, it's like Sarah said - just an regression in behaviors around that 1 year mark. All my dogs have done it.

You are doing such an amazing job with her. Don't beat yourself up about it.

Erin and her Dogs  – (October 12, 2009 at 5:38 PM)  

My 2nd puppy Rei, was horrible in the pulling/distraction department, I was so close to re-homing her more times than you can imagine.
But once she started going to daycare(of the dog varity) with me, and was around dogs 24/7 she didn't have an issues.

Midnight went to daycare every week during her time with me, and had no dog distraction. She was around the all the time and they weren't a big deal...and have four dogs has made my pups less dog distracted as well.

I know a lot of schools(well..GDF to be specific) are against dogs spending time with other dogs, but the dogs NEED IT!

ANyways good luck, you'll get through it, remember the good days!!! Keep that in the fore front of your mind! :))

Erin,Gideon,Victoria,Bubbles and TExas

Taelor, Pilaf, and Cartier  – (October 13, 2009 at 11:19 AM)  

Glad to hear that things are looking up! I am sure the Cabana girl will continue improving. =)

Mary Ann  – (October 14, 2009 at 4:39 PM)  

I love the pumpkin pictures. I am going to find a pumpkin patch for a photo shoot. The orange really stands out. :)

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